AHURI research has examined the relationship between housing and social wellbeing through concepts like social exclusion/ inclusion, social cohesion and social connectedness. A number of measures including the mental health of individuals or neighbourhood crime rates and other measures of neighbourhood disadvantage have been used to capture and define housing’s impact on social wellbeing — Project 50361, Project 50300 and Project 70111.
What are the social benefits of housing assistance programs?
- Research shows that housing assistance programs—such as public housing and rent assistance—can have lifetime benefits for individuals and governments which far outweigh the costs. The benefits include improved access to education, employment and income support — Project 10003.
What aspects of housing affect wellbeing?
- Overall, the AHURI research finds that housing, particularly the location of housing, significantly affects various aspects of social wellbeing (Project 50300). A lack of housing affordability, limited access to essential services—such as health and education—and the stigmatisation of living in a poor area have all been linked to poorer wellbeing — Project 80188 & Project 50361.
- Conversely AHURI research finds that safe, stable and secure housing that is affordable enhances wellbeing for a variety of residents (Project 60008). For example ex-prisoners who had stable and socially supported housing were more likely to stay out of prison and integrate better into society — Project 70068.
What approaches are successful for strengthening social wellbeing?
- Locally based housing management and community policing — Project 70026 & Project 70111.
- Intensive inter-agency and whole-of-government approaches — Project 70111.
- Community development approaches that start with the local people to identify local issues, building on the strengths of the existing community — Project 70026 & Project 60025.
How can community regeneration programs contribute to social wellbeing?
- Regional investment in social and physical infrastructure can reduce geographic disparities and strengthen communities. Spatially targeted housing assistance has the potential to enhance regional wellbeing, with flow on effects for the entire country — Project 70030.
- Suitable and affordable housing is a vital component of regional development policy and programs. The provision of a broader range of housing types, including specialised housing for cultural groups and people with disabilities, subsidised housing for key professional groups all play a vital role in attracting and retaining a more diverse community — Project 60029 & Project 80031.
- Community housing associations can make a significant contribution to strengthening local communities, particularly where there are low levels of public housing and in high cost city areas. Community strengthening activities include brokering access to services, personal development and supporting social and economic development — Project 60025.
- The most effective approaches to involving the community in urban renewal programs start with empowering the local people. It is also vitally important not to disrupt existing social networks — Project 70026, Project 70110 & Project 80125.
- One of the frequent aims of urban regeneration programs is to build social cohesion through greater social diversity. Whilst there may be some improvement in community spirit, there is little evidence of significant social networks developing between tenants and new property owners — Project 70110.
- Private sector-led urban development and industrial regeneration can have some positive socio-economic outcomes. However, this may be limited to certain locations and may not filter out to a whole region — Project 30035.
- Social rather than physical interventions are required to achieve a reduction in crime in public housing estates. Intense interagency collaboration and non-traditional community policing are important elements in crime reduction — Project 70111.
- AHURI research examining the effects of an urban renewal project on the wellbeing of Indigenous communities found that social wellbeing could be diminished despite physical improvements to housing and a deconcentration of poverty. This occurs where there is a lack of understanding of the role that Indigenous relationships with place, family and extended kinship networks play in creating a sense of belonging and community — Project 80125.